Monday, February 29, 2016

WORTHY, WORTHY, WORTHY



February 29

Daily Bible Reading: Your favorite passage of Scripture

Verse of the Day: Revelation 4:11 – “Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created.”

What a great and glorious doxology in the book of Revelation. Doxology literally means a study of praise. However, dictionaries usually define the term as expressions of praise to God, often associated with a hymn sung during Christian worship.

As we consider this verse of the day, notice that the 24 elders before the throne start with acknowledging the worth of God. He deserves our praise because of His glory, power and honor. We can proclaim praise to God because He is the great Creator, and we owe our very existence to this One. They cast their crowns before Him in this passage because they surrender to His Lordship and Majesty. Can we do the same today?

Prayer: Worthy are You O God to receive my praise, my worship, my whole being today.


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nurture or Nature?




February 28

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 7:14 – 37

Verse of the Day: Mark 7:20 – “And he said, That which proceedeth out of the man, that defileth the man.”

In our passage today, Jesus is dealing with the question of what defiles a man. What is it? Is it in the age-old philosophical question – is a man evil because of nature or nurture. Are we evil because of the world around us, or because we are born that way? 

The Bible makes it clear (from Genesis to Revelation) that man does bad things, that he is evil because he is born that way. Our nature is what corrupts the nurture that we receive. In Genesis 3 we see where the perfect Adam and Eve become tainted with sin, and because of that, all mankind is born with this sin nature. 

Where does evil begin? Not from what we learn, but from who we are. And, without a savior, we would all be doomed to an eternal separation from the true God of Creation.

Prayer: God of Creation, we are flawed from birth because of sin. We sin because we are sinners. We need Your Son as our Savior. 



Saturday, February 27, 2016

Traditions or truth?



February 27

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 7:1 – 13

Verse of the Day: Mark 7:9 – “And he said unto them, Full well do ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your tradition.”

Jesus gives very condemning words to the Scribes and Pharisees in today’s passage. He condemns them for placing greater emphasis upon the traditions that they had evolved from their study of the Scriptures than for the Scriptures themselves.

Can we be guilty of this today? Do we try too hard to hold on to our religious traditions and styles (worship, music, prayer, etc.) and lose the depth and beauty of what the Bible says to us. We must be sure that everything that we hold tightly to is God’s Word and not how we think about them.

Stay in the Bible, learn it, memorize it, meditate upon it, apply it – and you will find that living God’s way is better than any traditions or programs you may encounter.

Prayer: Father today, open my heart and eyes to Your Word. May I see it clearly. Amen.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Obedience brings blessings





February 26

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 6:33 – 56

Verse of the Day: Mark 6:53 – 56 – “And when they had crossed over, they came to the land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. And when they were come out of the boat, straightway the people knew him, and ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment: and as many as touched him were made whole.”

Have you ever wondered why so many recognized Him and came to be healed? Look back to Mark 5:1 – 20 (February 23 reading) and reread the account of the healing of the demoniac. Because H e told others about Christ, they wanted what He could give. Obedience brings blessings.

Prayer: Jesus, may I develop the trust and faith to do what You tell me to. When I obey, great blessings for others and me are given. Many will find eternal life if I chose to obey.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

R & R



February 25

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 6:1 – 32

Verse of the Day: Mark 6:31 – “And he saith unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

R & R. Rest and relaxation. Renewal and restoration. However you want to say it, it is not a luxury, although we often consider it as such. Taking some time to be alone and rest is not a selfish thing. It is being Christlike.

Taking a day off each week, rewarding yourself with a relaxing, refreshing vacation is not being sinful or selfish. No, it is a spiritual thing to do. God designed us to take one day in seven to rest (the Sabbath). Focusing upon God during this time can recharge not only our physical batteries, but also our spiritual ones.

When have you taken a day to rest lately? When have you spent time focusing on God and refreshing yourself in Him? Take Christ’s admonition to heart – “Come aside and rest a while.”

Prayer: Jesus, You are my R & R. Amen.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Where is your faith?



February 24

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 5:21 – 43

Verse of the Day: Mark 5:34 – “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”

The Greek word πιστις, means trust or firm persuasion. The verb form then means to believe (see Mark 5:36). To have faith is to let go of our trust in ourselves and place that trust in someone or something else. Faith is only as good as the person or item that it is placed in. That is why the writers of the epistles often used the word πιστις to refer to what one believes, the content of our faith. This truth only comes from God’s written Word (Romans 10:13 and Galatians 1:23). 

So, the question to consider today is simply this – what am I placing my trust in? Myself? My bank account? My doctor? My family? Or, am I placing my faith in the Almighty, Eternal, All-loving God?

Prayer: God of Creation, Father of all, I stop today and reassert my faith in You and Your Son Jesus Christ. My faith is firm because You are firm and unchanging. Amen.



Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why am I still here?




February 23

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 5:1 – 20

Verse of the Day: Mark 5:19 – “And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and how he had mercy on thee.”

I have felt many times that once Christ saved me, it would have been so much better if He took me to Heaven. All the struggles I could by-pass. But, in this healing of the Demon-possessed man gives us an insight in the reason we are left here.

When we have found the eternal promise and life given by the grace of God, our purpose in life takes on a brand new shade of meaning. We remain here to go and share what great things the Lord has done for us. We are to tell others about the mercy we have been granted, and that they too can receive this mercy. We are here today for the express purpose of telling others about Jesus and His saving grace and mercy.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to be Your hands, feet, and voice to others who need the wonderful solution to eternal doom. Amen.



Monday, February 22, 2016

Don't You care?



February 22

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 4:21 – 41

Verse of the Day: Mark 4:38 – “And he himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion: and they awake him, and say unto him, Teacher, carest thou not that we perish?”

Have you ever been in this situation? All of life around you is in an uproar. You are being tossed and turned in all directions. You are sure that any moment will be the final one. And, then you look toward your Lord. And He appears to be asleep. You cry out – Don’t You care if I perish!?

Well, understand that going through this storm, Jesus could sleep because He had full trust in His Father. Did He care for the disciples? More than we can ever imagine. But, He was in full control of the situation and the outcome.

This same Jesus is the One who holds our situations and outcomes in His hand today. When it gets rough, trust the One who can grant the perfect outcome.

Prayer: Father, I often worry way too much. I show my lack of trust and faith – as recorded in Your Word, help my unbelief. Amen.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

How deep are your roots?


February 21

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 4:1 – 20

Verse of the Day: Mark 4:17 – “and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway they stumble.”

In today’s passage, we read the Parable of the Sower (also in Matthew 13 and Luke 8). In this passage Jesus compares the message of the gospel as it works in the lives of four different types of people.

In our verse for the day above, Jesus is speaking of those who receive the truth as seed that falls upon rocky places. The seed does not go very deep, and when the troubles arise they fall away from anything to do with God. God is teaching in this parable that while we are focused on what fruit a person has, He is focused upon how deep their roots go. We watch the product, and He watches the process.

Prayer: Father, may the roots of Your truth go deep into my life. May I not only be concerned with producing fruit for You, but also developing deep, strong roots in Your love and grace. May I be firm in You. Amen.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Unpardonable Sin



February 20

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 3:22 – 35

Verse of the Day: Mark 3:28 – 29 – “Verily I say unto you, All their sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and their blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin:”

The Unpardonable Sin. People consistently worry about what this sin is, and whether they have committed it. One thing I have learned in my studies is this – If you are concerned over having committed it, you probably didn’t.

So, what is the sin? Jesus says all sins are forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The word depicts continual action, perpetrated by the individual, and is a possibility if continued. What is it? It is consistently denying the truth brought to the individual by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is God.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, as I pause to pray today, I am thankful that I recognize the Lordship and Deity of God’s Son – Jesus Christ. I place my trust in His Saving Grace. I renew my acceptance of His Person and Grace. Amen.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Follower or Throng?



February 19

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 3:1 – 21

Verse of the Day: Mark 3:9 – “And he spake to his disciples, that a little boat should wait on him because of the crowd, lest they should throng him:”

When I was growing up, I always pictured Jesus as a lonely Rabbi walking the countryside with 12 loyal followers. I understood that at times some others might have been with Him.

But, as I continued to study and grow in the Word, I became aware of the fact that as Jesus moved, there were large groups of people who moved with Him and gathered wherever He was. The Greek word in our verse above is οχλον and means a multitude of men who have flocked together in some place or a throng. In other words, He was not a lonely figure, but One who could not be noticed wherever He went.

So, the question to consider, am I a true disciple or just one of the crowd?

Prayer: Jesus, may I be counted as one of Your faithful followers and not just one of the throng of those flocked together. Amen.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Great Physician



February 18

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 2 

Verse of the Day: Mark 2:35 – “And when Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus is here speaking to the Pharisees, who believed that they were righteous in God’s sight, and was challenging their thoughts. The word righteous means one who is upright, virtuous, and keeping the commands of God. The Pharisees saw themselves as such. Jesus came to change sinners (those devoted to sin, wicked) not to condone what they were doing. 

Jesus then (as well as today) demands repentance (a change of mind and will) that recognizes that one needs a Savior, and that Savior is Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Prayer: Today Jesus, as I ponder the verse in our reading, help me to be aware that I am one who is in need of a Savior. As I have seen clearly from Your Word, You are that Savior promised from the book of Genesis throughout the whole Old Testament, and have come, died 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quality and Quantity



February 17

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 1:23 – 45 

Verse of the Day: Mark 1:35 – “And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed.”

This is a great verse to remind me that I need to spend time each day in prayer with my Heavenly Father. The Greek word προσηυχετο is interesting. It is a verb set in the imperfect tense – this means that it is a continuing action. Jesus was in the habit of starting His day talking with the Father. It is the middle voice form meaning that the person is performing the action upon himself (reflexive action) or for his own benefit. 

To help develop a likeness to Jesus in all areas of our life, we must meet often and alone with Him. We see for Jesus to do this with His Father, He had to get up early enough, far away enough, and stayed at it long enough. If He needed to do this – how much more do I need to do this today.

Prayer: Father, I need to spend quality and quantity time talking and fellowshipping with You in Prayer. May it start now ---- Amen.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Servant



February 16

Daily Bible Reading: Mark 1:1 – 22 

Verse of the Day: Mark 1:1 – “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

Writing about three decades after the Resurrection, Mark gives us the second of the four redemptive biographies of Jesus Christ. Matthew showed us Jesus as a King, and now Mark will show us Jesus Christ the Servant.

In today’s passage, we see the forerunner of the Servant, the baptism of the Servant, the temptation of the Servant, and the start of the mission of the Servant.

God takes on the form of a Servant to provide salvation to those who will believe. Over the next four weeks, we will observe the servant as He ministers to those around Him, and learn of His ministry to us today.

Prepare your heart and mind to receive the Servant. Let Him minister to you today.

Prayer: Father, help me to learn from the walk and ministry of Your Son then and today. May I be a servant to those around me, just as He was when He walked this earth. Amen.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Immanuel!




February 15

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 28:1 – 20 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 28:19 – 20 – “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

The Great Commission. Given by Jesus to His Body of believers. Go. Make disciples. Baptize. Teach. 

Today, let us focus on the last part – “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Have you considered that Matthew starts in chapter 1 telling us that Jesus is to be “Immanuel” – God with us. And here he ends his redemptive biography of Jesus with His promise to be Immanuel always. He will never leave us nor forsake us. Always there – in good times and bad. Always there when we are doing right – and wrong.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for the promise that we can hold to at all times. You are truly Immanuel in our lives. Knowing You are with me all the time gives peace and confidence.



Sunday, February 14, 2016

A real Valentine's Day messgae



February 14

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 27:32 – 66 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 27:27 – “And many women were there beholding from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.”

Today is Valentines Day. A day that we celebrate love. It almost can seem like this is a strange section of Matthew to read today. Yet, when we stop and ponder the importance of what is taking place in this passage, we realize that this is the fulfillment of what we consider in John 3:16. 

What is taking place on the hill called Calvary is the visual portrayal of the grand and endless love of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His Son.” There really is no greater image for understanding the grandeur of love – God’s love for us.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we ponder the fullness of Your love, it is not displayed in any other place as grand as in the Cross on Calvary. May I pause today in the thoughts and celebrations of love to remember this truth. 


Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Praetorium



February 13

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 27:1 – 31 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 27:27 – “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered unto him the whole band.”

The Praetorium was the palace in which the governor or procurator of a province resided, to which use the Romans were accustomed to appropriate the palaces already existing, and formerly dwelt in by kings or princes. At Jerusalem, it was a magnificent palace which Herod the Great had built for himself, and which the Roman procurators seemed to have occupied whenever they came from Caesarea to Jerusalem to transact public business. 

A magnificent palace that became a scene of brutal treatment of the King of the Universe. The soldiers mocked and abused Him there. The creature desecrated the Creator. And yet, this was all in the plan and purpose of God. Our forgiveness and restoration will come from this treatment. We may not always be able to understand God’s method, but let us trust Him to provide for us.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your plans.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Am I bold enough?


February 12

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 26:55 – 74 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 26:69 – 70 – “Now Peter was sitting without in the court: and a maid came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilaean. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.”

Hours earlier Peter had declared that he would “die with thee, yet will I not deny thee.” (Matthew 26:35). Now, faced by a young female slave (Greek παιδισκη), Peter begins to deny that he knew Jesus. In our reading today, we see him increasingly vehemently denies any knowledge or relationship with Jesus.

We need to stop here and consider our own lives. Day-to-day do we act, speak, and live like we know and obey Jesus? Or, in our own ways do we deny any relationship with Him? If someone asked those you come in contact with about your relationship – what would they say?

Prayer: Holy Spirit, come into my life and give me the confidence and boldness to constantly acclaim Jesus. May I humbly be seen as a true follower of the King. Amen.





Thursday, February 11, 2016

Facing the Oil Press



February 11

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 26:36 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 26:14 – 15 – “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I go yonder and pray.”

This is the account of Jesus’ final night, the night of betrayal and trials. Jesus, being fully aware of what was about to take place goes to the Garden of Gethsemane (Greek word for “Oil Press”). Sin and death began in a garden, and now the Victor over sin and death battles in a garden. In this place where olives were crushed into oil, the One anointed with oil would be crushed under the burden of our sin.

The first people (Adam and Eve) betrayed God the Father by disobedience and brought sin and death into this world. Now, God the Son would be faced with a betrayer, and He will steadfastly obey the Father and destroy sin and death.

Prayer: Jesus, I bow humbly before You today. Because of Your obedience I am redeemed. Because of Your obedience I am forgiven. Because of Your obedience I have a future with You and Your Father. Amen.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Judas, Peter, and Me



February 10

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 26:1 – 19 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 26:14 – 15 – “Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, and said, What are ye willing to give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they weighed unto him thirty pieces of silver.”

How could one who was close to Jesus, who apparently was considered by the Disciples to be a person of integrity (he was allowed to be the treasurer), and was considered one of His specially selected followers (a Disciple) so callously seek to betray Jesus into the hands of His enemies?

Maybe, a better question we should be asking ourselves today is – how could I, one of His followers and family so easily betray and disobey Him? Before we cast the first stone at Judas, we need to examine our lives.

Judas betrayed Him and so did Simon Peter. And, when we are honest in our personal scrutiny, we are guilty also.

Prayer: Father, examine me, expose how I so easily disobey and betray my Savior. Amen.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Least



February 9

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 25:31 – 46

Verse of the Day: Matthew 25:40 – “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.”

Probably a well-known verse, our passage today contains the Lord challenging us to reach out to those who truly have needs, no matter what they are. We are called to provide help to the people we are aware of that need it.

In this verse, He uses the Greek word, ελαχιστων, which can be translated as smallest in importance; in authority; in the estimation of men; or in rank and excellence. We can find it easy to help those who can reciprocate while ignoring those who are most in true needs.

Jesus states that when we do it to those who are most needy, we are doing it as if it were Him receiving the help. Today, consider someone around you that needs a helping hand.

Prayer: Jesus, give me Your eyes to see the needs of friends, co-workers, and strangers that You bring into my sphere. Amen.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Kingdom of Heaven



February 8

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 25:1 – 30 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 25:1 – “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.”

In this chapter we find the parable of the Ten Virgins. Jesus uses the phrase “the kingdom of heaven” here (βασιλεια των ουρανων). The Jews in reverence to God avoided saying the name of God, so this is a Jewish way of saying the “kingdom of God.” Matthew uses this phrase about 33 times and it is found basically in his writing alone.

This points out to us that the kingdom of God is not a political entity, it is a heavenly, spiritual one. Contrary to what they were looking for, Jesus did not come as a political deliverer, but a spiritual deliverer. We often make this same mistake today. He did not come to change governments – He came to change men’s hearts, and this in turn will change the world.

Prayer: Jesus, help me to seek You to change my heart. May I seek to walk in Your truth. Amen.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Expectant and Ready



February 7

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 24:23 – 51 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 24:36 – “But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.”

Jesus again restates this in Acts 1:7 – “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within His own authority.” Some manuscripts do not include the phrase, “neither the Son.” 

When He was her upon the Earth, Jesus voluntarily restricted His use of some of His Divine attributes (John 17:4, 5; Philippians 2:5 – 8). In this way He became hungry, thirsty and tired. Luke speaks of Him growing in knowledge and wisdom (Luke 2:52). 

It appears that Jesus surrendered His use of omniscience in this matter. He is stressing that the date is not important – our being ready for His return should be at all times.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I spend each day as if Your Son could come back at any moment. In fact, the truth is that He could. May I live expectantly and ready to greet Him.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

An Eschatological Chronology



February 6

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 24:1 – 22 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 24:3 – “And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

Chapters 24 and 25 in Matthew is the End Times course that Jesus taught His disciples. They ask Him these questions, and in response He shares an insight into the chronology of eschatology (end times).

Three indicators of time are given in Matthew 24:6 – 14. Read and consider these. In Matthew 24:6 – “the end is not yet.” The second is in Matthew 24:8 – “But all these things are the beginning of travail.” And the third is in Matthew 24:14 – “and then shall the end come.” 

Consider these as you muse over what Jesus is saying in this important passage.

Prayer: Father, open my eyes to see the truth in Your Word. May I understand the lessons that You proclaim. May the reminder that Jesus is coming back challenge me today. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Wings of Protection




February 5

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 23:23 – 39 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 23:37 – “ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

The Greek word, ορνις, translated “hen,” simply means “bird.” It is the base of our word for the study of birds – ornithology. 

The Old Testament has many references to God’s care for His people in the same way that a mother bird cares for her chicks. (Deut. 32:10 – 12; Psalm 36:7; 61:4; 91:4; Isaiah 31:5; and Malachi 4:2). The passages bring to mind how birds shelter their young under their wings and compare this to God’s protection. Jesus here says He wants to give people this same kind of protection and love, yet they so frequently reject what He offers.

Prayer: God of protection and love, I come today asking You to cover me with Your wings of shelter in this time. May I gain the assurance of Your protection and shelter in the midst of the storms in my life. Amen.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Humble sinners come



February 4

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 23:1 – 22 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 23:13 – “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye shut the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye enter not in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering in to enter.”

We often look with disdain at those who are very evident in their sinful lifestyle. But Jesus used His harshest and longest sermons, not for struggling sinners, prosperous people, or discouraged disciples – He spoke the strongest against the glory-hogs, legalists and religious hypocrites.

When we struggle, God knows our hearts. When we are discouraged, God knows our inner being. God comes to give rest and encouragement to those who truly seek Him, no matter where they are in life. But, to those who were a mask and pretend to be perfect and above others – He sends strong words of condemnation.

Prayer, Father of Grace and Mercy, I come as a humble sinner before You today. Seek out the sin in me, cleanse it, remove it, take control over that area of my life. Amen.



Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sad-you-see



February 3

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 22:23 – 46 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 22:23 – “On that day there came to him Sadducees, they that say that there is no resurrection: and they asked him,”

I remember in one of my Seminary classes the instructor said, “The Sadducees were exactly that, they were sad you see.” He went on to explain that they based their beliefs solely on the Pentateuch (the first five books of Moses) and rejected all other writings. They thus did not believe in angels, demons, the resurrection or an afterlife. Thus, they were sad you see for a lack of a promise for the future. They basically saw any reward and success to be in the here-and-now only. Thus they lived an opulent lifestyle and found the teachings of Jesus a major threat.

When we muse over this religious thought pattern today, do we harbor it? Do we act as if we believe that today is all there is? Do we forget the promise of Eternal Life and the Kingdom?

Prayer: Eternal King, help me to focus on You and Your future rewards. Amen.



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

RSVP



February 2

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 22:1 – 22 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 22:14 – “For many are called, but few chosen.”

In this parable of the Wedding Banquet, Jesus makes this statement at the end. He has just spoken of one who was bound “hand and foot, and cast him out into the outer darkness” (Matthew 22:13).

The Greek word, κλητοι, means invited. It is not used in the same sense as Paul uses it (Romans 8:28 – 29). Jesus is specifically speaking of Israel at this point, and He is saying that all of Israel has been invited into the Kingdom, but only a few will believe and follow Him. Thus, God will not bring them into the banquet of the Kingdom. 

In a way we can understand this of all people also. God has made His invitation open to anyone (John 3:16), but only a few will believe and receive this gift (Matthew 7:13 – 14).

Have you believed and received? Today will be a great day to settle it.

Prayer: Jesus, I bring my heart to You to cleanse and claim as Your own. Amen.


Monday, February 1, 2016

Parables



February 1

Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 21:23 – 46 

Verse of the Day: Matthew 21:45 – “And when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.”

Parables. Jesus often used these heavenly stories to explain earthly concepts. The Old Testament is written to those who thought in stories. Jesus at this point is still in the Old Testament economy of God. Thus, He uses stories – but not only stories, stories that are like wrapped gifts. The package needs to be peeled off to reach the wonder of the gift inside.

These stories reach different people in different ways, and effect each differently. The parable of the soils can reach 4 different types of people. The Prodigal Son reaches the father, the prodigal, and the jealous older brother differently.

Prayer: Father, as I ponder and study the stories (parables) that Your Son shares in the Gospels give me wisdom to understand. And, once I understand, give me strength to apply what You are teaching me in the correct way. My I have true ears to hear His Words. Amen.


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